Struggles are sometimes personal agendas that we perceive as battles.

Deception is how the enemy gets our focus away from the Kingdom and the real battles and onto ourselves and our personal struggles. Struggles are sometimes personal agendas that we perceive as battles. As we set our hearts on struggles we lose the battles.

The Struggle – Virtuous agendas can turn into spiritual pride

Personal agendas are not necessarily bad, but they can easily become unhealthy and destructive. Agendas may be, and often are, virtuous. But if we’re not sensitive to the Spirit of God, an agenda can become our own little turf war. We can lose sight of the battle. We can lose sight of the consequences of our choices because we believe our agenda is so important. We stop listening to others. Spiritual pride sets in; we begin to strongly justify our choices and behaviors with candor and conviction. We’ve become convinced our agenda is a battle and a “hill to die on” no matter how many others are injured in the process. We’re convinced it’s God’s will – the problem is our well-meaning comrades in Christ aren’t hearing God in the matter.

The Battle – Dying to ourselves for the sake of the Kingdom

There are more important battles and God has more valuable spiritual territory for us to conquer. The enemy uses our personal struggles to distract us from our main mission. There are times in our Christian journey as individuals, as families, and as churches that we need to fall on own swords for the sake of the bigger battle – even if we’re “right”. The size of sacrifice that we make in our personal struggles is often not commensurate with what we  would win. We grieve God when we become entrenched in struggles that divide us when there are battles for more valuable spiritual real estate. Our battle is for Kingdom turf. Part of maturing in Christ as an individual and in leadership (husbands, fathers, pastors, leadership boards, etc.) is learning to discern what are struggles and making wise choices, often sacrificial choices, for the sake of the larger battle.

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Ephesians 6:12

The War – Jesus won the war on the cross

Jesus Christ was “right” in every way and in every circumstance. There were countless times He could have chosen a fleshly personal agenda in His struggle as the God Man, but for our sake He deferred; He listened and submitted to the Father until the time was right to make the ultimate sacrifice, and win the War. Can you imagine, if at any time, Jesus chose anything else?

May we each receive wisdom from Christ himself to discern between struggles and battles, and the courage to fight in love for the sake of the Kingdom.